Pakistan: Child Expelled For 'Blasphemous' Spelling Error

Publication Date: 
October 10, 2011
The Star

There’s no shortage of reminders nowadays of how dangerous Pakistan has become. Kidnappings are rampant, suicide bombers strike crowded markets, and sectarian violence is commonplace. Even sitting for a school exam comes with risks.

In the Pakistani village of Havelian, a Christian Grade 8 student named Faryal Bhatti has been accused of blasphemy after making a spelling mistake on a test, a miscue that has had drastic and life-changing consequences for her whole family.

"What Afghans Want"

Publication Date: 
June, 2010

Over a year ago on July 20, 2010 world leaders met to discuss the future of Afghanistan at the Kabul Conference. Oxfam International asked ordinary Afghans what they want to come out of the talks. In spite of intense lobbying, women were largely excluded from the conference. “…only two women beside government ministers took part in the Kabul Conference. 

Afghanistan: Women Face Rising Danger If Excluded From Peace Talks

Publication Date: 
October 3, 2011
Women's News Network
Four graduates from Kabul University's intensive five-month engineering training program for women (Photo: USAID).

(WNN) KABUL: On the tenth anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, a new October 3, 2011 Oxfam report on progress for Afghan women shows steady advances for Afghan women since October 2001. But recent data shows women’s personal safety, opportunity and human rights inside the nation are beginning to erode back to conditions that existed previously. 

With May 2011 being the deadliest month for Afghan civilian casualties since 2007, opinions inside and outside the country on the war in Afghanistan have been mixed. Many women in the region worry they will be left behind as international peace talks accelerate toward the proposed U.S. military campaign ‘end’ date in 2014.

Afghanistan: Raising Hope for Women

Publication Date: 
October 6, 2011
The Guardian
Afghan girls attend lessons on the outskirts of Kabul in Afghanistan. Photograph: SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Ten years ago, a massive feminist experiment began in Afghanistan. But can the advances in education and women's rights be sustained, even when the troops leave?

For the past 10 years we have watched a giant social experiment in , an experiment in in one of the most misogynist cultures in the world. It may only have touched a minority in the big cities, but an entire generation of girls were born and raised with a widely promoted idea: that they had a right to an education, to vote, to hold paid employment, to stand for elected office and even to live a life without domestic violence and forced marriage.

Malaysia: Sisters in Islam Remains Firmly Opposed to the Implementation of Hudud Law

Publication Date: 
October 4, 2011
Sisters in Islam

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is unequivocally opposed to the adoption and implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia. This has been our considered position since 1993. Our stand on Hudud law is based on the following reasons:

  • That it is against the Federal constitution

The Hudud law is unconstitutional on several grounds. First, crime falls under federal jurisdiction, thus a state has no authority to legislate on criminal matters. This is why we have in place a Penal Code that all Malaysians – irrespective of religion – are subject to. Second, it violates constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender;

Pakistan: Guns Aimed Increasingly at Women

Publication Date: 
September 30, 2011
Illegal guns seized near Peshawar last week (September 2011). Photo: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS.

PESHAWAR, Sep 30, 2011 (IPS) - Guns available in new abundance in the troubled north of Pakistan are increasingly being used on women in ‘honour’ killings and domestic disputes, according to local reports.

"About 65 percent of the women killed fall prey to gunfire in honour-related cases and issues relating to domestic violence," local security analyst Brigadier (retired) Muhammad Saad told IPS.

Citing a study by the local Awaz Foundation, he said the problem has been caused by easy availability of small arms.

Nepal: Badam Mahatara, "In this community there is never ending discrimination against women"

Publication Date: 
September 22, 2011
Badam Mahatara, 46, believes change is possible. Photo: Natalie Bailey/IRIN

URTHU, 22 September 2011 (IRIN) - In Urthu, Jumla District, in Nepal’s Mid-Western Region, women marry young, have children young and die young. Life expectancy for women is 50, (eight years younger than men) and as one local young man described it, the women are treated like mules. Jumla’s population of 105,000 serves as a microcosm of the gender rights situation across rural Nepal, aid workers say.

Indonesia: FGM/C Regulations Mistaken As Endorsement, Experts Fear

Publication Date: 
September 1, 2011
About 12% of baby girls born in Indonesian hospitals, birthing centres or assisted by midwives have undergone FGM/C. Photo: IRIN

WEST JAVA, 1 September 2011 (IRIN) - Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.

"This will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Ulamas' Council approves of it," Jurnalis Uddin, doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University [ ] in Jakarta, told IRIN.

Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia's Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising "not to cut too much", and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure. []

Malaysia: Women Seizing the Political Agenda

Publication Date: 
September 29, 2011
ISIS International

Women are claiming a leading role the political reform movement in Malaysia. In July this year, around 50,000 Malaysians braved a massive state-sponsored onslaught against freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to gather in the nation's capital to demand electoral reform. It was the second time that Malaysians gathered in a mass rally to demand these reforms, but the first time that the call was led by a woman, Ambiga Sreenevasan, and where the lead organisation was a women's rights NGO, Empower.

Pakistan: Suffering In Silence

Publication Date: 
September 28, 2011

MULTAN, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) - Being beaten almost daily by her husband is a routine part of Saadia Bibi’s life. “Ever since I was married nearly seven years ago, I have been slapped, punched or kicked virtually every day. Once or twice my husband has burnt me with cigarettes,” she told IRIN in Multan, in conservative southern Punjab, displaying the distinct, circular scars on her shoulders and legs.

The “misdemeanours” Saadia has been beaten for include cooking food which is “tasteless”, speaking “too loudly” on the telephone or “arguing back”.